The first vice president of the Government and minister of Economic Affairs, Commerce and Business, Nadia Calviño, said goodbye to the Digital Transformation portfolio this Tuesday to hand it over to the former minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, who assumes this responsibility in a own ministry. “It has to be an independent ministry because of the maturity it has reached,” argued Calviño. after the transfer of portfolios at the ministerial headquarters. At the same time he received, from the hand of Héctor Gómez, the Commerce portfolio: “Reunifying the powers of Economy and Commerce is like reuniting a family.” He assured that it is time to do so to have a “stronger voice in defining the new world order.”
Both Calviño and Escrivá were very supported by their colleagues in the Government. On the public bench was the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, and during Escrivá’s intervention, the Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, among others, appeared.
With these changes of portfolios they join the cabinets of Calviño and Escrivá new Secretaries of State. Specifically, in the new Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business, the Secretary of State for Economy and Business Support and the Secretary of State for Commerce will be created. For their part, in Digital Transformation they will have the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure and the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence.
Precisely, José Luis Escrivá gave special importance to AI as one of the axes to follow during his mandate. Specifically, he spoke of giving it a “multidisciplinary and humanistic approach”, based on dialogue between experts “philosophers, linguists, political scientists…”, he mentioned. Furthermore, he stressed that the potential of this technology has many benefits but It cannot be developed if there is no legislation. “Like any change, it generates uncertainty and we have to strike a balance between change and the protection of citizens’ rights.” At the same time, he announced a clear commitment by his ministry to attract talent and investment to Spain in the field of the digital economy.
The minister assured that the legacy that Calviño leaves with this portfolio is evidence of the impact that technology had on the economy with a 25% increase in employment in the technology sector since the pandemic ended “three times more than the rest of the economy,” said Escrivá, who stressed that PERTES were “a key lever” for this to happen.
In this sense, Nadia Calviño reiterated that when she assumed the Digital Transformation portfolio in January 2020, she was clear that “it was going to be a key lever in the transformation of our country’s economy.” They both did reference to digital kit, a key instrument in the digitalization of SMEs; various PERTES.
On the Commerce side, Calviño now finds itself in a very buoyant situation in terms of exchanges of goods and, above all, non-tourist services. He stressed that the foreign sector “is the key to the progress of our economy” with a surplus in the balance of payments current account is 3% of GDP “which allowed us to reduce the debt with foreign trade by 30 points,” he assured. At the same time, he pointed out that Spanish companies are “competing without complexes” in international markets.
Specifically, the first vice president made reference to the export of non-tourist services such as engineering services, research… “which have greater added value.” Calviño announced that “we are in a great change” at the international level with completely fragmented trade and geopolitics transforming and incorporating new actors such as emerging powers or the Global South.
He argued that now “it is essential to articulate these two legs of the economy” to have more voice within this new world order.
His predecessor in the area of Commerce, Héctor Torres, spoke along the same lines and assured that what Calviño must do now is “guarantee sustainable investments in Spain” and assured that he must continue finalizing and promoting the details of the trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur during the Spanish presidency of the EU, which assured that it is “almost ready” to close. A document that has been debated for 20 years.
Both Nadia Calviño and José Luis Escrivá wanted to praise social dialogue and support for business as the key lines of the previous legislature and that they will continue during this new adventure in their respective portfolios. “We have built a network of trust with companies,” said Calviño.